A native of Colorado, Mrs. Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant, currently resides in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, with her husband. Mrs. Bryant is a published author, freelance writer, novelist, editor, ghostwriter and a literary and entrepreneurial advocate. She is the founder and owner of YolandaMJohnson, Literary Wonders! and Bryant Consulting. She is a columnist for Examiner.com, RAW Sistaz Literary Services and other literary venues. Mrs. Johnson-Bryant is a member of The Nussbaum Entrepreneurial Center, Women of Leadership and Learning (WELL Women) and Toastmasters. She also conducts workshops and classes on writing and entrepreneurship and is also a member of several reading and writing groups.
What Is SEO?
You may have seen or even heard of SEO, but perhaps you thought it didn’t pertain to you, so it went in one ear and out the other; however, even as an author, SEO is very important, and it can do wonders for marketing your work.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. In laymen terms, it means that with the proper search engine optimization, potential buyers will be able to find your work—more so than without SEO. When you think about it, the bottom line comes down to numbers. Have you ever checked your ranking on Amazon? Numbers. Have you ever checked your various social media rankings? Numbers. Your rank in search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and so on comes down to, you’ve got it, numbers.
Search engine optimization helps with your ranking, er . . . I mean numbers. Search engine optimization helps potential clients search for and find you and your work faster and, depending on your rank (numbers), perhaps before any of your competitors.
For example, a Christian fiction author has a Website where she has announced the release of her newest novel. Without search engine optimization, a user may put the keywords “Christian, fiction, new, release” into the Google search engine (I will use Google from this point on, since it is my favorite.), garnering millions of results. And, without search engine optimization, the author’s Website may not be on the first page of results, let alone the first twenty.
When you use keywords on your Website or blog, there is a better chance that your rank (numbers) will be higher and your Website or blog may appear on the first page of results, or at least the first twenty pages. Let’s use the same scenario above. I’ll use Christian Fiction Online Magazine for example. Go to Google and type in the following keywords: Christian, fiction, new release. If you’ll notice, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, which is an affiliate of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, and Christian Fiction Online Magazine show up on the first page of the Google Search results.
Let’s try another example. My newest novel (shameless plug), Revelations, came out in e-book format in October, and the paperback came out January 31. If we input these keywords: new release, Revelations, my Website shows up on the first page.
Now, you might be thinking that if you put in the same keywords and my name, my site(s) or information pertaining to me dominates the first twenty-plus pages. That’s too easy. If someone is searching for a new book but doesn’t know my name, he can still find me on the first page by using just the keywords: new, release, Revelations.
Depending on the keywords you use on your page and blog, it should be easy for others to find you. It is my opinion that you should use as many relative keywords as possible. Do not use keywords that have nothing to do with your content.
to Patrick Schwerdtfeger’s book, Marketing Shortcuts for the
Self-Employed, search engines look for three primary factors
when determining Website rankings:
1. The quantity of unique relevant content
2. The newness or freshness of that content
3. The link structure surrounding the Website
Patrick goes on to advise his readers:
Google loves sentences and paragraphs. Avoid bulleted lists and hidden text. Whenever possible, put your content into standard sentences and paragraphs. Keywords, keywords, keywords . . . Pick about a dozen primary keyword phrases and use them naturally but consistently in the following places:
1. The primary domain name, if possible
2. The page title and, ideally, the page URL
3. Any main subhead (H1) tags throughout your site
4. The title tag and page description
5. The alt tags of all images on your site
6. The first paragraph of your page content
7. Throughout the rest of your page content
I can’t give you all of Patrick’s secrets—you’ll have to buy the book yourself. Besides, SEO is only a small fraction of what he covers in his book, but I think you get the idea.
Have you ever wondered why some images show up in Google images and some don’t? It’s because either the images are not tagged correctly, if at all, or they are not named correctly. Take this into consideration the next time you tag a photo on your site, especially if you want it to show up in the Google images. The same applies when you are using video, such as YouTube. When you have a moment, go to YouTube and try to put in a few keywords and see what you come up with.
Resources such as blogs make it easy to tag your content and photos, but it may not be as easy in HTML, CSS, and other types of coding. If you are an SEO newbie, please check out some of the resources that I have listed below to help get you started.
Make sure that users and potential clients can find you, your content, your book, and your work. Don’t make the mistake and miss out on potential fans and sales by not optimizing your Website or blog.